Arnold Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver in 1986 and divorced 25 years later. However, the divorce was a long, drawn-out process, over 10 years. Let's take a look at what went wrong.
Arnold and Maria did not have a prenup for their almost $400 million wealth. Despite the media frenzy that surrounded their divorce, the couple handled everything as confidentially as possible.
Court records showed that they had equal custody of their children. They also showed that neither one of them owed each other spousal support but could seek it through the court as the years progressed.
Arnold Schwarzenegger attends a candlelight in honor of people who died during the September 11 terror attacks in 2003, Joseph Baena with his mother on Instagram. | Source: Instagram/Getty Images
HOW THE COUPLE GOT TOGETHER
A month before Arnold first met Maria, he met and dated Sue Moray. She was 25 years old and worked as a hairdresser. She noticed that he kept wandering to other women while trying to pick her up.
Arnold vehemently denied this accusation and went on to get Sue's number. He dated both Sue and Maria for a year, despite claiming to be in love with Maria. He later broke up with Sue.
"She said, 'I want to move to America and be your wife or woman', I said, 'I have a girlfriend I’m very serious about.'"
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver together. | Source: Getty Images
ARNOLD'S DALLIANCES WITH OTHER WOMEN
While working on the film "Red Sonja" in Rome, Arnold began dating co-star Brigitte Nielsen. He had been in a relationship with Maria for seven years. The newspaper "Vienna Kurier" reported the fling.
In his book, "Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger," Arnold revealed that Brigitte wanted more than just a fling from him: "She said, 'I want to move to America and be your wife or woman,' I said, 'I have a girlfriend I'm very serious about. I am committed to Maria.'”
Arnold remained committed to Maria and proposed to her three times. His third proposal to her was while they were boating on a local lake. Her response was less romantic, though:
“Hey, Arnold, what’s so special about today? Have I been especially good lately? Have I gotten really beautiful?”
Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Red Sonja" in Rome, Italy, 1984. | Source: Getty Images
ARNOLD AND MARIA GET MARRIED
In 1986 the couple got married in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Maria's cousin, Caroline Bouvier Kennedy, was the maid of honor. Actress Gigi Goyette claimed that she had an affair with Arnold shortly after the birth of his child.
They met in 1975 while Gigi worked on the set of “Little House on the Praire.” She said that she only slept with Arnold once the year they met but reconnected for a fling in 1989.
Arnold denied the claims, but Gigi insisted that she was not the only woman who had an affair with Arnold. “There were so many other women. About 13 have come out of the woodwork,” she claimed.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. | Source: Getty Images
When Maria was pregnant with Christopher in 1997, the family housekeeper, Mildred Baena, was also pregnant.
Rumors also surfaced that he had an affair with actress Rachel Ticotin. The pair worked together on the set of “Total Recall.” But Maria turned a blind eye to the cheating allegations.
She even defended Arnold when he was accused of sexual misconduct. "I wouldn't be standing here if this man weren't an A-plus human being. I wouldn't be taking my time; I wouldn't have left [the] job that I love, I wouldn't be doing any of this if I didn't believe in this man," she said.
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger with his new wife Maria Shriver outside St. Francis Xavier Church after their wedding on April 26, 1986. | Source: Getty Images
Before the allegations, Maria gave birth to Patrick in 1993 and later Christopher in 1997. Arnold loved parenthood and once referred to fatherhood as the next best thing to cloning. He also said:
"Fatherhood is really the greatest joy. Watching all five of my kids grow into their own successful lives is fantastic.”
MORE TROUBLE IN THE MARRIAGE
When Maria was pregnant with Christopher in 1997, the family housekeeper, Mildred Baena, was also pregnant. As Mildred's son, Joseph, grew older, she noticed that he looked a lot like Arnold.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver pose with their children Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher at a pre-premiere softball game with "The Benchwarmers" at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center on April 2, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
“It was as Joseph grew, and I started to see the resemblance that I wondered – but It became more apparent as time went on,” she said. But Arnold kept the secret longer and only revealed the truth years later.
Shortly after leaving his position as California governor in 2011, Maria asked Arnold to have a meeting with her and their marriage counselor. She questioned him about whether he was Joseph's father, and Arnold confessed the truth.
Maria also questioned Mildred who admitted that Arnold was Joseph's father. But Maria's reaction to the truth surprised her: “She was so strong. She cried with me and told me to get off my knees. We held each other and I told her it wasn't Arnie’s fault, that it takes two.”
Daily News front page May 19, 2011, with the headline "TWO MUCH - Ahhnold's love child & son born five days apart." | Source: Getty Images
Joseph found out that Arnold was his father in the same year. His grandmother sat him down to explain who his dad was, and he replied with an excited, "Cool!" While Maria was angrier at Arnold than Mildred, she focused on protecting her children when the news broke.
Arnold said that his marriage was strained during his time as a governor, but the infidelity caused it to end. He said, "That is something that I will always look back and say, How could you have done that?"
ARNOLD AND JOSEPH'S RELATIONSHIP
Joseph revealed that it took some time to form a relationship with his father. "I grew up with my mom, and I was always nervous, and I didn't want him to think bad of me," he said.
But with time they became close. Joseph said that he and his dad joke about everything together. He added that he chose not to use his last name because Arnold didn't believe in handouts.
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Even though Joseph grew closer to his dad, he had a complicated relationship with his half-siblings. He didn't attend his half-sister Katherine's wedding to Chris Pratt in 2019.
But Joseph seemed to have a better relationship with Patrick. The two were seen hiking together in Los Angeles in 2021. Joseph follows all his half-siblings on social media, but none of them follow him back. Arnold was the only one in the family to acknowledge Joseph publicly.